Monday, June 4, 2012


This afternoon as we were out eating lunch on our deck, I had the realization that our life suddenly became very Norman Rockwellian.

We have a nice four bedroom home in a safe family-oriented neighborhood. I stay at home and cook dinner for my husband so that we can eat together as a family when he's done with work. We have two young, healthy children. We have a deck with patio furniture and a grill and a lazy family dog.

Deck with patio furniture.

Lazy family dog.

I am able to sit out on my deck and eat chunks of watermelon and look out at this on a beautiful day:

Landscaped suburbia.

It isn't lost on me that I have a good life. We're healthy, we're not in debt, and we're dealing very well with the cards we've been dealt. We went from "be-shamed-young-unwed-college-parents" to a normal, "legitimate" middle class family in the blink of an eye. I am grateful, really I am.

BUT. Yesterday I was terribly missing my sister who lives (literally) halfway around the world. I miss being able to call her up and talk to her. I miss being able to take a two day road trip to go stay with her. I've been waiting for her to return to the US, but that isn't going to happen for some time. As a compromise, I wanted to go see her in Australia while she is on leave from work. I looked into buying tickets and realized it'd cost us $3,000 to make it there. And $3,000...? Well, that's a lot of money to us.

Jared and I have always wanted to see Australia. I miss my sister and I want to go spend time with her. A trip like that would more than likely be a once in a lifetime experience. I believe in spending money on experiences and memories vs material things that just clutter up the house over time...


With all of that being said, that's still a lot of money. That's a few mortgage payments. Months of groceries. A down payment on a family-sized vehicle we'll soon be needing. Furniture for our largely-empty new house. Payment in full on the hospital bills from Colin's birth.

Pre-children, I wouldn't have hesitated a moment to buy those plane tickets. I was the kind of person who spent money on what I wanted, when I wanted and I had a good time. When I didn't have money? Well, that's just how it was. I sought out free entertainment and lived on the cheap until more money came my way. I didn't particularly mind being broke. The repercussions for running out of money weren't such a big deal. If I had money? Great. I had fun spending it. If I didn't have money? That's okay, I found my fun anyway.

Now I can't really do that. I'm careful not to run out of money and eat into our savings. The repercussions for being broke are too great now. We have to pay the mortgage, the utilities, the phone. We have to make sure we can feed ourselves and two kids with healthy food. There is a family pet to take care of. We have to make sure the kids have clothes and toys and that we can pay for all of their doctor visits. We have to plan for a rainy day when we're responsible not only for ourselves, but two completely dependent human beings. Being broke wouldn't be so easy now.

Having a family meant that I gave up a lot. Or maybe that's not quite the right way to phrase it. It's not that I gave up a lot, but that I chose to take different things. I chose our awesome family over a life of parties and jetsetting and glamorous youth. Two very different lifestyles were put in front of me and I chose this one. There's nothing wrong with that. I'm not unhappy with that. I hardly ever even think about it because I'm content with my decision and I'm enjoying my life as it is now. The last thing I'm doing is complaining.

But every once in a while something comes up that makes me wonder about the grass on the other side. This time, what made me wonder was the price of an Australia-bound flight. How different would things be without our kids?



I don't know what we'll do about the trip to Australia. Maybe we'll go and maybe we won't. It really made me think, though.

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